Such an innocent – and 7/8ths worth of ubiquitous! – set of characters, that “http://:” (minus the quotes).
Not for Skype, though, as it turns out. They’re more like Kryptonite to the internet chat app.
As of Wednesday, Skype had reportedly fixed this simple-to-exploit bug.
But prior to that, users were reporting that sending the characters “http://:” in a message was crashing the app, while receiving a message with those characters was making it crash any time a user tried to sign in again.
It was wreaking havoc on Windows, Android, and iOS.
Skype for Mac and Skype for modern Windows (a flavour of Windows cooked up for Windows 8 touch screen devices) were both left unbitten by the bug.
VentureBeat reports that it first heard of the glitch when the Skype user Giperion posted about it in the community forums.
He noted that
clearing chat history not helps, because when skype download chat history from server, it will crash again.
Argh. That’s annoying.
It meant that users couldn’t scrape off the bug by deleting their chat history – rather, Skype was simply re-downloading the data.
When the program restarted, the pesky characters just crashed it all over again.
A Skype spokesperson told VentureBeat that the company pushed out updates for all of the affected products.
There’s no need to uninstall Skype, says VentureBeat – just download and install the latest version from skype.com/download.
For mobile platforms, just visit the app store for Android or iOS, search for Skype, and hit Update.
The publication tested the updates by sending the offending characters and found that they went through fine, without kicking any apps out of commission.
More information about the fix can be found on the Skype Community Forum.
What a bad week to be a messaging app!
The Skype bug is similar to a new iOS gotcha that’s letting iPhone users crash each other’s iPhones by simply sending a text message with specific characters (which we’ll refrain from printing, of course, given that Apple’s still working on a fix).
That one’s also known as the “Unicode of Death” – a bug that Apple’s acknowledged and for which it’s provided a workaround.